The Coin

The Coin won a Finalist Award in the Mystery/Suspense Category from the Indie Excellence National Awards.

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El Tigre

El Tigre won a Finalist Award in Western Fiction in both Indie Excellence and USA Best Books Awards.

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El Tigre II

El Tigre II has won a Finalist Award in the Western Category in the Indie Excellence National Awards Competition.

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Lobo

Lobo was the winning novel in the Military Fiction Category in the Indie Excellence National Awards Competition.

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The Death and Rebirth of Cinema

The Death & Rebirth of Cinema ISBN: 9781943625130, Waterfront Press, by Harry Mathias is a masterfully instructional book on the film industry.

The author examines all aspects of the digital revolution that is taking place in the motion picture industry. From the material provided the industry seems to be encountering the same or similar ‘growing pains’ to those publishing experienced when the same revolution occurred within its realm. There was a long-standing precise pattern where established ‘houses’ published the books, distributors resold them to wholesalers, they to retailers and finally they to bookstores and individuals. Discounts were established and standardized, and everybody made money. Suddenly, it disappeared. The digital revolution arrived – POD (Print on Demand) became available with a number of advantages and was followed quickly by e-book production and entrance of a hoard of new publishers/authors who often provided books of a much inferior quality, both in technique and content. The author’s examination has discovered that the picture industry’s problem is similar but even may be greater. “Always remember: Cinematography is about making visual art, it is not about mastering new technology, but sometimes mastering daunting technology is what you have to do to make art. Just keep the art foremost in your mind, not the technology. This book is intended to be an exploration of what tomorrow’s equipment and methods must be like as the cinema industry progresses to a working method that retains the full creative flexibility that was possible with the discarded film imaging tools.” His goal in this writing is to “try to fix as many of these digital cinema-induced imaging injustices as possible and to explain digital camera technology” to new filmmakers and provide help to veteran cinematographers who “feel the necessity to transition to digital cinema.” To gain his objectives, he launches into a detailed account of the number of persons required for a successful operation, the knowledge, commitment, artistic ability and confidence required of each in their individual functions and the absolute necessity for them to be stratified in multiple layers into a hierarchical whole. He also presents extensive technical data on the equipment employed with comparisons among old and new equipment/methods, both positive and negative.

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The Bestowing Sun

The Bestowing Sun ISBN, ISBN: 9781780363059, Peach Publishing, an e-book by Neil Grimmett.

Plot/Characters: This is a story set in a small village and surrounding farm land in Somerset, England. Brothers Richard, powerfully built and gross in actions, loves the land and follows in his father’s footsteps to continue the mundane existence while William has a frailer frame, interests, activities and ‘soul’ of an artist and is married with a daughter, but it becomes unraveled. The father, Herbie, is an enigmatic individual with traits somewhat unusual for a farmer and totally enchanted by his wife Madeline, a still quite refined and beautiful woman. Richard marries Selina, the town’s beautiful, sexy, but ‘loose’ woman, she becomes pregnant, aborts the baby and divorces to move to Europe. Richard remarries Anne and they have three children. Meanwhile, William has seen Selina and recognizes in her the perfect model and one with ‘an inner soul’ which he can equate, and having also moved to Europe to study art meets her there. The plot revolves around the triangle of the two brothers and Selina and their interaction as well as with a number of ancillary but relevant characters to move to a quite understandable termination.

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Super Sized Success

Super Sized Success, 9 Steps to Maximum Riches in Minimum Time ISBN: 9780996659079, Maxar Press, a self-help e-book by Linda Zander.

The book is presented in Three parts: Part One – Success and God: the Supreme Joint Venture. Part Two – Success and You: Building Your Total Package. Part Three – Unleashing Your Inner Tycoon Epilogue: Super Sized, A League of Your Own. Success Superheroes. Part One includes seven steps in the first chapter, number 8 in the second and step #9 in the third. Part Two includes the Cornerstones of building – Mental, chapter 4; Physical, Chapter 5; Financial, #6; Moral Character, #7 which “Initiates the Way of Christ: Identifying Your Own i-Christ-like values. The 49 Moral Values of Christ Owning Your Top 4 Values.” Part Three follows “Unleashing Your Inner Tycoon Epilogue: Super Sized Success Superheroes. A League of Your Own.” A plethora of suggestions are included throughout the book.

Discussion: This is a book that can provide much for a person who is searching for ‘a proper path to follow in their life to gain the level of accomplishment they wish to attain while doing so in a manner compatible with God’s teachings’. The heavy emphasis on God and Christian beliefs becomes obviously understandable as we read and learn more of the author’s personal life. She is a “self-made multimillionaire, success coach and award-winning athlete, who ‘beat’ addiction (remarkably now clean for 26 years) and a bout with cancer (now clear for more than 9 years) after refusing to accept the physicians’ directions for treatment. Reportedly, her refusal was the result of acceptance of a strong ‘sense’ that to follow their recommendations would be fatal. She quotes an anonymous author: “God gives miracles to those who believe, courage to those who dream, and love to those who accept.” Numerous other famous and near-famous quotes are included along with positive suggestions that individuals seeking help certainly will find quite useful. Regrettably, there is an overabundance of redundancy such as lecturers frequently employ for emphasis. In such an arena activity of this nature often is helpful, but it is tedious when transferred to a written form. Another gross error, at least in this reviewer’s understanding, is inclusion of controversial figures as examples of persons to be emulated. Specifically the author states: “Having feelings is normal but allowing them to control you is not a healthy procedure. Learning to control them for the benefit of a positive outcome is having the emotional intelligence of a champion and a leader. Here are a few examples of world leaders who led with emotional intelligence. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Mahatma Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Hilary Clinton, Nelson Mandella, Martin Luther King, Jr.” Application of the criterion to most of those mentioned undoubtedly would generate immediate acceptance. Granted, inclusion of Margaret Thatcher may be somewhat marginal because of the controversy that flourished during her last days in office. However, inclusion of Hilary Clinton certainly would not appear to be a good choice because: 1) she still is extremely active so her decisions are too ‘new’ to properly be evaluated and 2) regrettably, her personal position as the center of tremendous controversy with respect to the intelligence of some past decisions as well as the veracity of some of her statements are much in question. It is entirely immaterial whether this situation is politically initiated or even whether the questions are right or wrong in this instance. Inclusion of ANY person still involved in political activity, in this reviewer’s belief is a huge mistake and more especially if validity, rightly or wrongly, is in question. Such inclusion immediately opens the author’s hypotheses to question and even can provide a massive negative reaction that can undo all of his/her serious, and often beautiful presentation.

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The Mud Dance

The Mud Dance ISBN: 0781780363042, Peach Publishing, an e-book by Neil Grimmett.

Plot/Characters: The setting is the ‘Rock & Roll’ era of the ’70’s. The story is centered upon Kenny whose family, in an attempt to save a marriage that was beyond saving, moved from Birmingham to a Somerset coastal village. He is brought along with vehement objections because it is his senior school year and will tear him from his familiar environment and friends. Further shock occurs when he discovers he is far removed from the structured formality to which he is accustomed, to a very lax one peopled with students who “grunted in thick slurring accents linked with a strange, archaic grammar” and non-formerly robed faculty who have difficulty exerting authority. He does meet one boy, Larry, who is different, from an apparently wealthy family but one also with mother/father problems. He establishes a strong bond with him that lasts for a lifetime. Kenny is a jazz drummer and Larry, trained as a classic pianist is desirous of playing contemporary music. They graduate, form their first band, gain a certain amount of local success and expand and the tale continues with a recounting of their attempt to gain that intangible pinnacle of success that combines both personal satisfaction with strong monetary compensation. They obtain contracts to record and perform in prestigious national/international venues and gradually move through the years with a changing personal relationship that leads to a somewhat dismal termination.

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CONNECTED

Connected ISBN: 9781617981555, Wild Child Publishing, an e-book edited by Leslie Karen Lutz, authored by Kat Stiles.

Characters/Plot: The plot actually is quite complex with several threads and many questions, some of whose answers are revealed as the story continues. A number of characters are variously interrelated. The story begins when teen-age Emily (Em) is struck and thrown into the air by a drunken driver who stops, determines she still is breathing and leaves. She feels a tremendous heat generating and awakens to find there is no damage. She discovers through the school nurse (Judy) that she has the gift of ‘healing’. Somehow this is associated with a tendency for her hands to perspire heavily so as to be an embarrassment in school. One thread of the plot follows a ‘coming of age’ theme with Angel the leader of the group making her life miserable. Next introduced is her one good friend Roz, whose father has been like a father to her – her father having been sent away by her mother for believing he had acted inappropriately with the child (which may have some substance because we learn later that her mother insists she visit a psychiatrist because of disturbing dreams she has repeatedly.) Emily’s mother Anne is extremely involved in a job that requires odd hours and besides is quite a difficult person with whom to equate. Lauren, her older sister who has problems of her own, is constantly dominant. Tommy, transfers from another school after ‘getting in trouble’, and is attracted to Emily. As the story progresses we further discover that Tommy has unusual sensual (hearing, sight, olfactory) sensitivity and Roz is clairvoyant. The second major thread evolves when their collective powers are brought to bear in searching for a murderer and the tale introduces several more characters. The story’s ending provides an extension of one thread that initiates what may be assumed to be a forthcoming sequel.

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